11 Scopus citations


Colorectal cancer screening is advocated by expert groups based on strong evidence of effectiveness, yet only approximately 1 in 3 Americans are screened. For a screening program to be effective, it is necessary for providers to offer and patients to accept screening, insurers to pay for screening, and provider groups to have monitoring and reminder systems and the expertise and facilities to perform the tests well. Whether and when such screening programs become successful depends on the priorities of healthcare decision makers as much as on the efforts of individual physicians and patients. There are strong arguments for decision makers giving colorectal cancer screening programs high priority: it saves as many lives as other services now in common use; it is a good use of scarce resources, costing less than $20,000 per year of life saved; and members of insurance programs increasingly expect screening benefits and programs, and failure to offer them might lead to member dissatisfaction and malpractice claims. Screening is costly, however, taking into account the cost of screening, follow-up tests, and treatments, and the costs occur many years before the benefits. Programs that are promoted to members but not fully implemented could create disappointment and backlash. Also, this screening can cause medical complications. Nevertheless, successful programs have been developed, proving that they are feasible in today's cost-conscious environment. We believe that colorectal cancer screening programs are integral to any organization purporting to provide high-quality care. Organizations without such programs should give them high priority for implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-538
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002


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